Green Zone - Online Review

'the only character who does what he's told to do without having to have ten years worth of political backstory explained to him is Jason Isaac's Briggs'

Green Zone's twisting, overly political plot is marred by one distinct and prevalent feeling: Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon can do this sort of thing in their sleep. Greengrass - who has a history of making films which have either a controversial political voice or deal with controversial political events - here tackles the Iraq conflict and the failure to deliver on promises of stashed nuclear weapons. Damon takes the next natural step from the Bourne franchise, establishing himself as the thinking man's action hero, without the need of a franchise as safety net.

What they both do, they both do very well. Greengrass' shaky-cam is present and correct, although it feels slightly toned down when compared to the last Bourne outing. The one-hundred and fifteen minutes he takes to tell his story never feels lengthy or drawn out and the narrative clips along at a decent pace, punctuated by the moments of action which the astute director knows he needs in order to secure the audience's involvement in his politicising. Damon is as strong here as he is in Bourne and he does a good job of de-personalising Miller slightly, ensuring that the largest amount of viewers might connect with him.

It's just over a year since the film first hit UK cinemas and in that time it feels like it may have already aged markedly. It has become accepted, even by the most staunch supporters of the Bush/Blair axis, that there never were any weapons of mass destruction in the country and political agendas ran rife through defence of the realm decisions. Intelligence (a key word and concept for the film) was shoddy, execution of policy was questionable and the handling of the aftermath confused. Greengrass makes all of these points but never stops to contemplate whether these are points that need making. At times, it feels like a tick box exercise in encapsulating all of the problems with the Iraqi occupation.

For that very reason, Brian Helgeland's script is forced to dabble in exposition laden-political speak on more than one occasion. In attempting to open the subject up to all and sundry, Greengrass has tried to make the film accessible but may tread on the wrong side of the line for people familiar with the questions being asked. Rules and allegiances are explained excessively and the only character who does what he's told to do without having to have ten years worth of political backstory explained to him is Jason Isaac's Briggs, a resplendent and welcome good guy/bad guy, complete with utterly ridiculous facial hair.

Green Zone is available to watch online using Sky Player or Sky Anytime.

Look further...

'some good performances from the cast, but the script doesn’t really go anywhere' - Dan The Man's Movie Review, 5/10


  1. I actually really liked this. Like all films based on current events it suffers from not knowing all the facts. They will come out eventually but it does make it diificult for any film maker attempting a film like this.
    I give it kudos for working with what it had but I'm an historian at heart and realise the flaws in making a film like this. As afilm though it didn't really cause anycontroversy or denial from any Gov't corners so who knows maybe it missed the mark completely!
    Have you seen Fair Game with Naomi Watts and Sean Penn? It deals with a similar premise and I though it excellent even though many didn't. Again the historian in me was aroused!

  2. Yes, that's a good point: as a snapshot of a time in history (i.e; perhaps before the absence of WMDs were well accepted) it does serve its purpose. I had fun with it too but, as you say, it's not really got a deep and meaningful thesis to offer on a controversial topic.

    I've not seen FAIR GAME yet but the DVD is sitting next to my player as we speak. Hopefully in the next week or so.